Consider this a list, not exhaustive, of character traits that Filipinos need to overcome if they want to emerge as a better society – definitely better than their current situation indicates.
Filipinos are rude, undisciplined and inconsiderate
The quintessential example of this, of course, is to look at a daily commute and a typical traffic scene in the Philippines. What do they do? They all want to be first; if they spot a chance to overtake, they will. If you drive a car, if you use signal lights to turn or change lanes, a lot of drivers will not let you pass through.
Filipinos are overly emotional
How else to describe a people who elect their leaders based on a perceived sense of “honesty” and because their relatives died? How else to describe a people who are easily swayed by catchy one-liners and slogans and phrases? How else to describe a people who are better at reacting than responding; there is a difference between the two (hint: one of them involves thinking)
Filipinos lack a sense of self-responsibility
Filipinos always need a hero who will deliver them from their self-made wretchedness. A man like Rodrigo Duterte appeals to a people who are unable to appreciate the importance of policing themselves.
In addition, Filipinos have been so used to thinking that someone else will clean up after their own messes, they just leave their trash, literally.
Filipinos rely heavily on external factors and forces for validation
Two words: Pinoy Pride. That all too familiar feeling when someone with Filipino blood is successful abroad. Filipinos back home are quick to latch on to the success of that entity and claim it as their own, or worse, to put it up as proof that Filipinos are great and important members of the world community. And yet, more often than not, the success of that entity is due to his/her own hard work, and not because he/she has Filipino roots or heritage.
By the way, does it sound familiar to you that on occasion, Filipinos pay little attention to their talented countrymen until a foreign entity recognizes that talent? Now suddenly, they’re all over him.
Filipinos take criticism and alternative approaches/points of view very poorly
Filipinos have heard and been told too many times that they need to improve themselves and that they need to clean up their act if they want to get out of their current pathetic condition. They have one general reaction to all of these: indignation. All due to a paper thin ego that is better at dishing out than taking it.
Unfortunately, Filipinos put more emphasis on the tone and the perceived rudeness of the message more than on the actual content. Form over substance.And they can’t even put up proper counterarguments without resorting to Ah, basta! or argumentatum ad hominem.
Why such stubbornness or incorrigible self-righteousness persists, despite the disastrous outcome and results found in Filipino society, is something that has been baffling for many, many years.
Filipinos set abominably low standards for themselves
Pwede na iyan. Bahala na. Continuous improvement is a hard chore for the Filipino because he is forced to think to make it work – something he does not like doing. Mediocre mindset equals mediocre output equals substandard way of life.
Filipinos are lazy and unimaginative
There are many talented Filipinos. However, it seems that the problem is that collectively, their society doesn’t encourage such. What are some common reactions one can get if you try to present ideas to fellow Filipinos?
That can’t be done.
Don’t forget us when you become famous.
You make the rest of us look bad.
Why don’t you for a government office?
Ang ambisyoso mo naman!
Balato ko, ha!
Filipinos harbor a skewed concept of freedom
Filipinos think the “freedom” they supposedly earned in 1986 allows them to do whatever they want, regardless of the consequences. This “freedom” goes hand in hand with their concept of “democracy”. They just go through the motions; elect leaders whose platforms (or lack thereof) they didn’t exhaustively cross-examine, and they express shock that things come out the way they envisioned it to.
The following question remains without a convincing answer until now:
Proud to be Filipino? Of what exactly?
Obviously, Filipinos have been putting the cart before the horse; they feel pride for some inexplicable thing, then they go find something to feel proud of, however small and inappropriate. But true pride comes from a society building things as a collective, from accomplishing things where each member of that society can feel happy and satisfied knowing that they had a part in building that thing or accomplishment. Not just because they share some semblance of “Filipino blood” with the entity who became successful.
If Pwede na iyan, Bahala na, and a culture of impunity are the best that Filipinos can do together, well, they get what they deserve.